The Legendary Secret Chiefs: The Hidden Masters

By Jean de Cabilis

The Secret Chiefs are known by a number of titles, such as: The Hidden Masters, the Unknown Chiefs and the Secret Brothers. These names given to the Secret Chiefs; are to those highly evolved Adepts who are the foundation stones from which the Western Mystery Tradition is built. Of their existence in relation to the Western Mystery Tradition Gareth Knight has said:

"... If we worked them [Western Mystery Tradition ceremonies] in serious doubt about the existence of the "Secret Chiefs" we would have no source of heat beneath our frying pan!.."

And of the Secret Chiefs MacGregor-Mathers wrote:

"Concerning the Secret Chiefs of the Order, to whom I make reference and from whom I have received the wisdom of the Second Order which I have communicated to you. I do not even know their, earthly names. I know them only by certain secret mottoes. 'I have but rarely seen them in the physical body; and on such rare occasions the rendezvous was made astrally by them at the time and place which had been astrally appointed beforehand"

Baron Von Hund (1750) within his 'Strikt Observanz', first introduced the tradition of the Secret Chiefs according to some historians. This Masonic rite today is known as the Rite of Strict Observance. The Rite, which teaches about the Secret Chiefs, is based upon a magical system where the initiate of the mysteries actually evolves into a tangible astral form beyond his lower human

In the Tibetan mysteries, the Rite is practicing what is known as the 'Whispered Succession'. I suspect that the 'Strikt Observanz' is the ceremony which assisted the magical development of initiates such as Baron Von Knigge of the Illuminati. And Auerbach, Ludwig and Gabriel Riesserthe who were the founders of the Jewish Frankfurt Lodge; and Westcott who was the primary founder of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Another occultist who taught the philosophy of the Secret Chiefs around this time was the Spanish-French occultist Martine de Pasqually.

The mythology of the Secret Chiefs or Hidden Masters goes far back into the beginnings of human memory. According to legend, the first Secret Chiefs were the early 'Fire People' which were themselves descended from the gods. These 'Fire People' were the superior race having a mixed genealogy of both human and extraterrestrial parentage. The children of this race survived the flood via Tubal-Cain and from his issue are descended Nimrod, Hiram Abiff and other early Secret Chiefs From this line came the mystery founders of the ancient sciences and the later Great White and Black Brotherhoods.

Their Lodges were formed with the intent of being a hidden assembly apart from the normal priesthood of the time, in order to influence their kingdoms politically. Throughout time these Lodges have carefully played their game within the narrow world between magical philosophy and politics. The Great White Lodge was committed to democratic government, and the principles of social liberty and civility. Another instance is the Bishop of Vercueil (16th century) whose army vanquished the opposing Brotherhood by the Hidden Order. Another is Alessandro di Cagliostroa Secret Chief of the Brotherhood, who accursed by the Inquisition, died in a Roman prison.

Of the Secret Chiefs Crowley said, "they can initiate a political movement to culminate in a world-war". This was shown in recent history by the example of General Karl Haushofer whose was a member of the Black Lodge. General Haushofer was not only magician to Adolf Hitler but was also most likely the Secret Chief of both Nazi wars.

Aleister Crowley wrote of the Secret Chiefs.

"Yes; this involves a theory of the powers of the Secret Chiefs so romantic and unreasonable that it seems hardly worth a smile of contempt ... I propose to quote it here in order to show that the most ordiniry events, apparently disconnected, are in fact only intelligible by postulating some such people as the Secret Chiefs.."

Crowley himself perhaps believed or at least entertained the possibility he was himself a Secret Chief. In Crowley's words

"A visitor's story has just reminded me of the possibility that I am a Secret Chief myself without knowing it."

Karl von Eckartshausen (1890) the person whose writings are responsible for influencing Aleister Crowley to join the Path wrote this concerning the secret lodges:

"...the society of the Elect, which has continued fmm the first day of creation to the present time; its members, it is true, are scattered all over the world, but they have always been united in the spirit and in one truth..."

Through the mysteries, the Secret Chiefs have made their existence known in the world where magic influences politics. The famous Man in Black; the Master Luc Gauric; Karl von Eckartshausen; Jean de Tournes of Lyons; General Karl Haushofer; Ptolemy de Peluse; Alessandro di Cagliostro; Jacques Gaffarel; Joachim of Floris; The Seer Morin; The Magus Apolionius of Tyana; the Nephilim and Nimrod. These are but some possible examples of persons who were themselves chiefs. For example, the medieval Holy Grail myths hint at the Secret Chiefs when they speak of Adepts who, as the Graal Templars, journey into the world in secret to teach and influence kingdoms.

Von Eschenbach's Parzival has this to say about these Graal Templars:

"...writing was seen on the Graal to the effect that any Templar whom God should bestow on a distant people for their lord must forbid them to ask his name or lineage, but must help them gain their rights. ..members of the Graal Company are now forever averse to questioning, they do not wish to be asked about themselves..."

The Secret Chiefs through their Brotherhoods have not only influenced the thinking of governments but they have also greatly influenced the development of the Secret Philosophy within the Western Mystery Tradition through various fringe groups of which the most influential is the Illuminati.

The Secret Philosophy is that which holds the teachings of a Lodge, which were later revealed within the Corpus Hermeticum. The Corpus Hermeticum being a Hellenistic telling of the earlier mystery religions of Egypt, Sumeria, Atlantis and the world before.

While both the Great White and Black Brotherhoods approach the mysteries with similar methodology in the beginning of their instruction, each Lodge in the end has a very different and opposing political view concerning the destiny (and government) of the universe. Both Lodges each give to their initiates various magical powers and teachings, with the intent of their powers and teachings to enable the initiate to accomplish the Lodges' personal view of reality and its own aspect of transcendent wisdom or spirituality.

The progression of grades as a system, which assist in the development of the initiate, from neophyte to master is a fundamental principle of most all Western Mystery Traditional systems from the Guardians through to the Golden Dawn.

Within the Et Custosi Tutelae / Society of the Guardians Order there are 10 and not 11 and 10 not 9 grades within its spheres. Referring to this grading system within the Golden Dawn, P.A Shreffer wrote:

"The Society was organised into ten grades or levels of magical attainment, beginning with the Neophyte and progressing upward to Ipsissimus, whose knowledge surpassed human understanding. Presiding of the Golden Dawn was a Grand-Master who was directly responsible to the Secret Chiefs"

Within the various orders of the Western Mystery there must be a link between the Order or society to the Secret Chiefs. And as such this essential link can only be made or communicated with by a senior or high grade and worthy adept. This is necessary as the Secret Chiefs having a wider view of humanity and being in contact with other Secret Chiefs need to co-ordinate their efforts together, and then communicate the work onto the lesser Orders. So in a sense they watch over humanity and then direct humanity towards its path of spiritual and physical evolution. Within the Golden Dawn, communication from the Secret Chiefs was to the Chief Adept.

Of this very important principle Henry Steel Olcott wrote:

"It was found absolutely and imperatively necessary that there should be some eminent Member especially chosen to act as the link between the Secret Chiefs and the more external forms of the Order It was requisite that such a member should be me who, while having the necessary and peculiar educational basis of critical and profound Occult Archaeological Knowledge, should at the same time not only be ready and willing to devote himself in every sense to a blind and unreasoning obedience to those Secret Chiefs."

Suggested reading

HP Blavatsky; Alice A Bailey; Alan Bennett; Annie Besant; Paul Foster Case; Aleister Crowley; Dr Felkin; Francis King; Gareth Knight; CW Leadbeater; S.L MacGregor Mathers; Arthur Machen; Henry Olcott; Israel Regardie; Wynn Westcott; William Butler Yeats; and Patrick Zalewski.

These are but a few examples of Adepts who witness to the existence of the Secret Chiefs.